Monday, November 5, 2012

Tweaking Recipes

With Jeff and Joshua just getting over an awful head cold, and me just starting on one, some comfort food was in order.  One of my favorite recipes from before we started GAPS was the Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie from Crock Pot 365.  I have really been missing it as the weather has gotten cooler, and finally I decided that if I could find a grain free biscuit recipe that I liked, there was no reason to be deprived of this tasty dish.

Finding a grain free biscuit recipe was the challenge, really.  There are several out there, but like 75% of them include coconut flour, and since Jeff is allergic to coconut that is off my list.  Then another chunk all include baking powder.  This one really irks me, because baking powder is *not* grain-free.  It includes corn starch.  Even the good non-GMO baking powder is enough to give me migraines and joint pain (that is my reaction to non-soaked or sprouted grains, it turns out).  What I usually do is take a recipe that uses almond flour, and use my home-ground SunFlour instead (Jeff is also allergic to almonds).  Finally, I found a decent recipe for the biscuits.  It was dairy free, though, and we're not, so I replaced the "soy-free buttery spread" with...BUTTER.  I think lard would work well, too, honestly.

Now, the trick to baking with SunFlour is knowing that everything is going to turn green, and forcing yourself to mentally adjust to this fact.  Apparently -- while all seeds and nuts contain some chlorophyll -- sunflower seeds contain quite a bit more than most.  When combined with the leavening agents (eggs, baking soda, etc) a chemical reaction takes place that changes the pH of the dough or batter, and allows the chlorophyll coloring to become more apparent.  How green the mixture becomes seems to depend on how finely the SunFlour is ground.  The finer the grind, the more pervasive the green.  It is definitely something it takes some time to adjust to, but it has me getting very excited about St. Patrick's Day (especially since it is very possible I could have a St. Patrick's Day baby this year)!

So, the biscuit recipe is from Elana's Pantry, and here it is with my adjustments:

2 ½ cups SunFlour,
½ teaspoon Real Salt
 ½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon honey

I did not follow the directions at Elana's pantry.  Instead of including the butter with the eggs and honey, I cut it into the SunFlour with a pastry blender.  First, I mixed together the SunFlour, baking soda, and salt. Then I cut the butter into smaller pieces, and worked it into the SunFlour  with a pastry blender. Then I added the eggs and honey, and mixed thoroughly.

I rolled out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper, like she recommends at Elana's Pantry.  Cut the biscuits out, and layered them over my crock pot full-of-goodness.  Below is the recipe for the chicken pot is not exactly in "recipe" form.

None of the typical gravy thickeners are allowed on GAPS, not even arrowroot powder, and I did not feel like experimenting with gelatin.  So we are quite aware that what we will end up with will be a little soupier than this recipe usually is.  However, we always found this recipe a little dry (as did the blogger who wrote it), so I am not thinking we are going to mind.

We used whatever veggies we had on hand: peas, butternut squash (cut into chunks), carrots, onions, bell peppers, and garlic.  I used an entire butternut squash...I would call it "medium-sized."  Because the squash is so absorbent and we had a large amount of it, I used about 3 cups of chicken broth (homemade) and half a cup of milk.  We were low on meat so I used about a pound of chicken breast, but this recipe could easily handle two.  I used most of an onion and about 5 small cloves of garlic, and one medium bell pepper, with a small bunch (no more than half a pound) of carrots half of a quart sized freezer bag's worth of peas.  The seasoning is as follows:

--1/2 t marjoram
--1/2 t thyme
--1/2 t celery seed
salt and pepper to taste 

We cook this on low for 6-8 hours, with the lid vented so that the biscuits can cook thoroughly and get a decent crust on top.

The biscuits had barely been in for an hour and had already turned from the light brown dough color to a bright green.  This one is going to be interesting, for sure!

OK, what is comfort food without a delicious, warm dessert?  Again, because of coconut flour issues, I have had a hard time finding a good brownie recipe.  I found a recipe for "Peanut Butter Brownies," but this just made me upset because there was no chocolate in them.  I hear or read "brownie" and I instantly think "chocolate," so I felt slightly lied to, haha.  But the recipe is SCD compliant, and while cocoa is ok on full GAPS, it is not SCD-compliant, so no chocolate brownies in SCD recipes, right?  But then I realized that I could easily tweak that recipe, too.  The blogger who shared it said 1/2 c honey, but then that she uses 1/4 c and that was "plenty sweet." So I figured, if the extra 1/4 c of honey is what I would need to sweeten about 1/4 c of cocoa, this would be no problem!  I was right! The brownies are amazing, and are our favorite flavor combination (chocolate and peanut butter).  Without further ado, here is the recipe:

1 c peanut butter
1/2 c honey (plus 1-2 tablespoons if you are new to GAPS and need it a little sweeter)
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa

Blend ingredients thoroughly and pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan.  Or blend it not-as-thoroughly and have swirls of peanut butter.  It's up to you.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until edges have pulled away and center is set.

We may have eaten a few of these right after they were done, instead of waiting for dessert tonight.  Can you blame us?